By Dr Subhash Kapila
Strategic analysis has long held the view and it has by now become a common adage that the destiny of Pakistan stood presided by a triumvirate comprising “America-Army-Allah”, in that sequential order. This in itself could be termed as blasphemous as how the Almighty Allah could be the last-named in this so called triumvirate presiding over Pakistan’s destiny.
In 2011 Pakistan stands at critical crossroads in its destiny where its very future is at stake and intelligence estimates of the United States years back estimated that probably Pakistan may cease to exist as a nation-state beyond 2014.
In the year 2011 the dismal forecasts on Pakistan have become more repetitive and pronounced. Such dismal forecasts stare generated by the increasing fragility of Pakistan that is coming into international focus which earlier stood papered-over by America on grounds of strategic indispensability of the Pakistan Army and thereby of Pakistan to serve American strategic interests.
In 2011 Pakistan is apparently in a tail-spin hurtling into an irretrievable abyss of state-failure and utter chaos. Terrorist attacks, suicide bombings armed violence in the frontier regions of Pakistan and armed insurgencies seeking self-determination in Balochistan, Sindh and the Northern Areas is becoming a daily fare.
In 2011, it can be safely asserted that the Pakistan Army whose military effectiveness stood over-exaggerated by America and self-exaggerated by the Pakistan Army itself finds itself in the sorry state of being attacked and mauled by the very terrorist organizations and armed militias that the Pakistan Army and its intelligence agency, the ISI, created in the name of the Almighty Allah by projecting that they are engaged in the cause of Islamic Jihad
In 2011 the much publicized United States-Pakistan Strategic Alliance is in tattered shape brought about by a widening trust-deficit between the two nations. While the United States cannot be absolved for strengthening the monstrous entity of the Pakistan Army, despite its repeated double-timing and short-changing of the United States, the Pakistan Army needs to be severely blamed for having overplayed its strategic hand against the United States as its complicity in 9/11 and the Osama bin Laden episode vividly illustrates.
Against such a contextual backdrop in 2011 it becomes imperative to review as to how the triumvirate of ‘America-Army-Allah’ that so far has been said to preside over the destiny of Pakistan is playing itself out. In 2011 I would like to bring about a sequential change in the triumvirate order to read as “Allah-America-Army”.
The people of Pakistan need to fervently pray and beseech “Allah the Almighty” to delver the Pakistan from the clutches of the Pakistan Army and the years of political bondage that the Pakistan Army for its personal aggrandizement reasons has held the Pakistani people.
America would not have been brought into the equations of Pakistan or as one of the constituents of the triumvirate presiding over the destiny of Pakistan, but for the machinations of the Pakistan Army which wanted to enlist America as a counter-ballast against India.
This Paper intends to examine the main theme of this Paper under the following heads:
- “Allah The Almighty” Forsaken by the Pakistan Army
- America Finally on the Path to Forsake the Pakistan Army
- Army of Pakistan Falls From its Iconic Pedestal in Pakistan’s Political Dynamics, Both Internal and External
“Allah The Almighty” Forsaken by the Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army for far too long has been projecting itself as the ‘Guardians of Pakistan’s Ideological Frontiers’, the latest such assertion having been articulated by the present Pakistan Army Chief, General Kayani. Implicit in such an assertion would be that the Pakistan Army would safeguard Pakistan as the “Land of the Pure’ and ensure that the teachings, precepts and all the exalted values that The Almighty Allah has ordained are upheld in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s sordid political history of the last sixty three years and the chicanery that the Pakistan Army has indulged in all along illustrates that despite its assertions, the Pakistan Army has forsaken. ‘Allah the Almighty”
“Allah the Almighty” did not create the Taliban or the Lashkar-e-Toiba or the mercenary terrorist outfits that the Pakistan Army created by giving them appellations of Islamic Jihad. It was the Pakistan Army that created the Taliban and its terrorist surrogates.
“Allah The Almighty” did not sanction that the hapless Moslems of Afghanistan be subjected to brutal medieval oppression by the Taliban for years. The Pakistan Army had ordered the brutalization of the Afghan Moslems at the hands of its proxies
“Allah The Almighty” had not ordered the genocide inflicted upon the peaceful people of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. It was the Pakistan Army which carried out the genocide of millions of their Islamic brethren in what is now Bangladesh.
“Allah The Almighty” did not order the execution of the 9/11 bombings and the Mumbai 26/11 attacks killing hundreds of innocent civilian lives. The Pakistan Army sanctioned these dastardly attacks.
The list can go on and on nauseatingly as the Pakistan Army blinded by its arrogance of power as the sole controlling entity of Pakistan and having at is disposal the instruments of violence merrily went along its killing sprees.
The Pakistan Army in its arrogance of undisputed power within Pakistan has gone even to the extent of forsaking “The Almighty Allah” and having done so His wrath is staring in Pakistan’s face.
The time has come for the people of Pakistan to stand tall and beseech “Allah The Almighty” to deliver them from the yoke of the Pakistan Army and put Pakistan back on the rails of a better future.
America Finally on the Path to Forsake the Pakistan Army
America in the post-Osama bin Laden liquidation phase may have finally decided to forsake the Pakistan Army. There has been a growing chorus amongst American law-makers, the defense establishment and the US think-tanks that enough is enough and that it is high time that America applies the screws on the Pakistan Army to either serve and further US strategic interests faithfully and honestly or face the consequences of not doing so.
The Pakistan Army in the past decade while overtly professing assistance to the United States in fighting the Al Qaeda and the Taliban was concurrently surreptiously using these groups and their affiliates to undermine the US war effort in Afghanistan and providing them the military wherewithal to do so.
The recent visits of the US Secretary of State and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Islamabad reportedly made it abundantly clear that the Pakistan Army has no choice but to cooperate in the American operations to liquidate nearly fifty more top leadership of the Al Qaeda and Taliban. Americans may have professed interest in continuing a strategic partnership with Pakistan but it would be on American terms and not as per Pakistan Army agenda and strategic interests.
While media reports suggest that the Americans are mindful of Pakistan Army’s strategic interests in Afghanistan and that the cooperation of the Pakistan Army would be required for an ultimate American exit from Afghanistan, the US record on the ground suggests otherwise.
The Americans have revised their schedule of departure from Afghanistan from 2011 to a partial withdrawal and a final withdrawal to be assessed in 2014. US think tanks close to the US Administration have now suggested that even beyond 2014 should leave embedded in Afghanistan US troops numbering 25,000-35,000. This defeats the Pakistan Army’s Afghan strategy which was premised on a prompt exit of US troops generated by combat fatigue as a result of Pakistan Army generated Taliban operations against US Forces.
Pakistan Army cornered thus and its fears of US military intervention to take out the Pakistani nuclear weapons arsenal has been forced to play the “China Card” against the United States through articulation by the Pakistani Prime Minister,
Significantly, the operative end result that is likely to emerge is that America and the Pakistan Army which were the two main props of the triumvirate of ‘America-Army-Allah presiding over Pakistan’s destiny would be no longer that much operative as a “collusive and cooperative entity”
The ensuing scenarios however distasteful to America would eventually be forced into a unilateral or multilateral military operation to take out Pakistan Army’s nuclear weapons arsenal and also to maintain a long term military embedment in Afghanistan.
The United States can no longer even wistfully hang on to its narcissistic strategic obsession with Pakistan.
Army of Pakistan Falls From its Iconic Pedestal in Pakistan’s Political Dynamics Both Internal and External
In a sudden turn of events in 2011 the Pakistan Army or the Army of Pakistan comprising the main prop of the triumvirate under discussion has fallen from its iconic pedestal in Pakistan’s political dynamics, both internally and internationally.
Pakistan Army’s public image was being dented all along since the very terrorist affiliates that the Pakistan Army created for targeting India and Afghanistan commenced terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in Pakistan’s heartland of Punjab, with the Pakistan Army as a passive spectator.
Pakistan’s public became aware last year that the Pakistan Army moved into Swat only when the United States fearing that with the Taliban sweeping from Swat were dangerously close to endanger Pakistan’s nuclear weapons bases ,threatened that the US would resort to unilateral action to stem the tide in case the Pakistan Army dithered in doing so.
The recent US military operations to liquidate Osama bin Laden in Pakistan Army’s major garrison city of Abbottabad and the Taliban daring attacks on the naval base PNS MEHRAN near Karachi has toppled the Pakistan Army from its iconic pedestal that it had occupied unquestioningly for over half a century.
The Pakistan Army has not only toppled from its iconic pedestal in Pakistan’s internal dynamics but also in Pakistan’s external dynamics. Internally the people of Pakistan have started questioning the credibility of the Pakistan Army in defending the sovereignty of Pakistan against external (Abbotabad) and internal attacks (PNS MEHRAN).
Leading from the above two and the surfacing of Pakistan Army’s duplicitous record in Afghanistan against the United States and the West, the international credibility of the Pakistan Army as a reliable ally has taken a severe beating.
Against such a backdrop while the United States is entitled to persist in pursuing a strategic partnership with Pakistan, the United States is certainly not prudently entitled to pursue its strategic partnership as a Pakistan Army-Centric relationship with Pakistan.
In terms of Pakistan’s internal dynamics, people have openly started questioning Pakistan Army’s hold over Pakistan’s governance. It is my firm belief that the new younger generation of Pakistanis wishing to join the global mainstream cannot be held back by fears of Pakistani Army military coups.
Agonizing remarks on the Pakistan Arm seem to be the order of the day and I would like to reproduce some recent excerpts as their agonizing eloquence can best be captured in their own words.
Firstly Atish Taseer son of the assassinated Punjab Governor wrote in the Financial Times:
“The danger is of an army (Pakistan Army) shamed and distrusted abroad while increasingly more destructive at home. Already it has done more harm to its own people than to it has to any outside force”
“Even as the country collapsed, parasitical growth the Islamic Republic’s aspirations were ransomed”
The above remarks may be dismissed by some as arising from a personal trauma, but appended below are remarks critical of the Pakistan Army by Dr Mahajabeen Islam in a Column in the Pakistani newspaper, The Daily Times recently:
“We have been sleeping with the enemy that is incontrovertible. By getting the Pakistani nation to realize that we fear imminent demise unless some emergent action is taken is like trying to get the deeply somnolent, nay comatose national ostrich pulled from under the sand.”
“As a nation we have looked upon accountability as quasi-treason especially when it is asked from the Armed Forces”
“There is a silver lining in each cloud. With the rapidity of a technical knockout, the nation (Pakistan) has realized that the (Pakistan) Army had better stay in the barracks. They cannot do what they are trained for so they should not be pulled into government. And on a sadder note, the incidents (Abbotabad and PNS MEHRAN) stole the romance that the nation had an Army. The Armed Forces are just another facet of a fast degenerating nation: lackadaisical, indisciplined and corrupt.”
What does all this portend? It portends that the people of Pakistan would no longer accept the romanticized notion that the Pakistan Army is an iconic institution in the fabric of the Pakistani nation. The Pakistan Army may fight a rearguard action to maintain its supremacy in Pakistan’s governance but it may now have to face the possibility of facing the Pakistani masses street-power as was visible in 2007.
The portents for the United States are more somber. America would now have to reckon with a Pakistan Army which stands devalued in Pakistan’s domestic political dynamics and toppled from its iconic status. Would America have any use for such a Pakistan Army?
In 2011, Pakistan presents a spectacle of a nation torn asunder by religious strife, sectarian violence and terrorist outfits created by the Pakistan Army to target India and Pakistan turning on and targeting the Pakistan Army itself. The Pakistan Army continues as passive spectator content with allowing the spiraling violence to peak so that once again it can militarily intervene and assume the reins of governance.
However, in 2011 there is a catch for the Pakistan Army. The catch for the Pakistan Army is that that in public perceptions the Pakistan Army no longer figures as an iconic institution. It stands toppled from that iconic pedestal by the events of 2011.
The United States is faced with a serious predicament. If it persists in molly-coddling the Pakistan Army then it would add fuel to the fire of the widespread anti-Americanism predominating Pakistan today. It could endanger America’s long term strategic interests in Pakistan.
With the Pakistan Army no longer seen and valued as an iconic institution within Pakistan and the United States and the Pakistan Army locked in an irretrievable trust-deficit, what can “The Almighty Allah “ do to untangle the devilish mess in which the Pakistan Army has placed the nation ?
In 2011, the triumvirate seems to be unraveling and the people of Pakistan may be called upon to stand tall and struggle and be prepared for sacrifices to reclaim their beloved Pakistan from the clutches of the Pakistan Army and thereby join the global mainstream.
(The author is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs analyst. He is Consultant, Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group. Email: [email protected])